Thomas Co. museum undergoes maintenance to preserve its history

The museum sits on 1,600 acres of land.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:20 PM EDT
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OCHLOCKNEE, Ga. (WALB) - A nationally recognized historic museum in Thomas County is undergoing extensive renovations to preserve its historic heritage.

Pope’s Musem sits on over 1,600 acres of land. Now, the museum owners are completing phase two with the demolition of trees just as hurricane season is beginning, they hope that this can help preserve this nationally recognized museum.

“We completed phase two, which was taking down these humongous trees that were encroaching among this artwork which is also a war memorial,” Pope’s Museum Executive Director Michelle Dean said.

Dean says preservationists came out to the museum to assess the land and found that the museum was just one natural disaster away from losing all of its historic heritage if the demolition of trees did not start immediately.

“The Wall, which is a 100-foot World War Two Memorial, was being encroached upon by these huge trees. And I mean huge,” Dean said. “And they were literally adjacent to this amazing artwork, and you could see that the root system was starting to tear apart the foundation.”

The trees were demolished as they were one natural disaster away from destroying the museum.
The trees were demolished as they were one natural disaster away from destroying the museum.(SOURCE: WALB)

The museum is surrounded by 800 acres of privately held land by Langdale Company, and some of the artists’ original columns are on that land. So to restore the fence and to keep the artwork in high condition, columns are needed.

“We need those columns. So they sponsored, last year, the restoration of excavating and getting them on site. So phase one was getting those columns, phase two was protecting what is here and getting the trees removed and then phase three will be putting it back together.” Dean said.

Pope’s Museum has received the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation awards, which allowed them to restore the museum and large portions of the surrounding lands.